I’ve been using this fallow time to start reading Jane Dunnewold’s Complex Cloth. It’s basically a compendium of surface design techniques, and I already own a baker’s dozen of those, but this one is interesting both because she lays out the techniques so clearly and accessibly (with lots of explanation about how to cobble things together without spending a fortune!), and because she provides such beautiful photos of art cloth to inspire the reader. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this book and her second one, Art Cloth. I don’t think it will pull me entirely away from handweaving, but I do think it’s fascinating, and I think my second life – after getting a firmer grasp of the fundamentals of weaving – will involve surface design on handwoven cloth.
It is not clear to me (yet) how much handwoven cloth would contribute to surface design, though. Handwoven cloth tends to featured repeated motifs, and with the fine threads I typically work with, relatively small motifs. The art cloth I’ve seen has been at a larger scale and with a more freeform feel. Handwoven cloth is also so time-consuming to make that it doesn’t make sense to use handwoven fabric with surface design unless the handwoven-ness is essential to the design. So the question is, how compatible are the media, and what designs can exploit handwoven fabric best?
Meanwhile, since I have no new work in process, here is one of my very early works, a clay mask from elementary school:
I’m pretty sure I was eight or nine when I made this (certainly no more than ten). You’ll notice my style hasn’t changed much since. 😉